Portsmouth, NH | Durham, NH
College, Goofy

Hannah Being Psyched in Normal Places

You guys, I am a decidedly bad picture-taker.

To begin, I’m pretty un-photogenic. It’s like I always think I know what face I’m making, then I look at the photo and am totally surprised by what my face actually looks like. How the hell were my eyes closed? What’s my chin doing? I never told it to do that.

But beyond that, it almost never occurs to me to even take a picture. And when I do, there’s usually a tell-tale sign that I was the photographer somewhere in the photo. The people are posing adorably in front of a bathroom door we forgot to close. The corner of my pinky finger is peaking into the picture of the pretty sunset. I accidentally cropped out half of the iconic monument in the background.

In contrast, Hannah is a pretty good picture-taker. She tells me to move my arm or something because it looks weird. She knows where to stand in the apartment to get decent lighting. (Sidenote- almost no where in our apartment has decent lighting. Except maybe the bathroom.) But above all, she always thinks to whip her phone out and snap a quick picture.

I usually make fun of her. Then we look back through our photos years later and she’s got all the good ones. Touché, Hann.

Recently I’ve been trying to step up my game. Remember Julie Doing Yoga in Weird Places? Well now I’ve got a photo-series of my own:

Hannah Being a Tourist in Mundane Places.

It all began Meg’s younger sister’s 21st birthday. Molly is really cool as far as younger siblings go, so Hann and I jumped at the chance to hang out with her and tour the Sam Adams brewery in Boston one weekend. The two of us were milling around before the tour started, and we found these guys.

As far as we knew, they were just cardboard cutouts of two random brewery workers. But just in case they like invented beer or something, I told Hann to get a picture. “Look wicked fucking psyched!” I told her.

It didn’t stop there. Hannah also posed enthusiastically with some juniper berries, some dried plums, and other run-of-the-mill brewery things. I just laughed and clicked.

And thus, Hannah Being a Tourist in Mundane Places was born.

After exploiting my abnormally long arms and flexibility for goofy photos for years, I think she knows she owes me. So she’s been a pretty good sport.

Quick! Get a picture of me in the office where we work!

Smile, Hanny!

 

This time we actually dressed up like tourists for a theme party. We were Sheryl and Marv, crotchety middle-aged couple attempting to save their failing marriage with a second honeymoon.

Stay psyched, my friends.

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Artsy

Welcome to Night Vale

I was going to write about more graduation-y stuff today. But to be honest, if I spend any more time thinking about post-graduation plans, I might just melt into a puddle right here in the coziest lounge on campus. (The coziest lounge on campus is also notoriously warm, so the puddle thing is a threat on multiple fronts.) Today I’d rather talk about something very, very weird.

A podcast called Welcome to Night Vale.

If you’ve been around Julie and me at any point over the past three weeks, we’ve probably told you about this podcast. We’ve probably raved about its weirdness and its sounds and its precisely placed words. And beyond that, we’ve probably been wildly unsuccessful in explaining what Night Vale actually is, because it might just be the most difficult thing to describe ever.

(Author’s Note: The writers of Night Vale are in no way sponsoring this blog post. Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor don’t know we exist at this point, but someday we hope to meet them and ask about their childhoods.)

In our quest to convert all of our friends to fellow Night Vale listeners, we have been successful exactly one time. Our friend Adam fell asleep the first time we played the podcast for him. Granted, we were on our way home from an exceedingly energetic Matt & Kim concert, and he’d spent about two hours making sure crowd surfers didn’t fall on other people’s heads.

We’d thought we’d lost another potential friend fan—our last potential friend fan, if we were being honest with ourselves. (All other attempts at conversion had been a little bit like telling a Louis CK joke in church. Funny for us, but uncomfortable for everyone else.) But then, a few weeks later, Adam texted us. He’d gone back and listened to all of the existing Night Vale episodes! He was officially a friend-fan! Julie and I rejoiced like the nerdy evangelists we are.

Last weekend, Adam, Julie and I saw a live Welcome to Night Vale show. The writing was funny and bizarre and concise and poignant. Some audience members dressed up for the show, which we thought was especially impressive since the podcast format doesn’t really offer any visuals for costume-making. It was possibly the nerdiest thing we’ve ever done on a Saturday night—and it was our favorite Saturday night in a while.

We’ll take a swing at a summary here. Listeners are welcomed to Night Vale with community radio broadcasts that include local weather, traffic, a community calendar, and live coverage of the daily disasters and tragedies that plague this quiet desert town. Just remember to obey the Sheriff’s Secret Police, never look directly at the hooded figures in the dog park, and be aware that your every move is being recorded. You should be fine.

(Shout out to Jules for that sweet-ass paragraph. I’m calling Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor tonight to see if they need any more writers.)

In Night Vale,

A Faceless Old Woman secretly lives in your home (and has been trying to figure out your wifi password for months).
You may encounter a man in a tan jacket with a deerskin suitcase full of flies; once he’s out of your sight, you can’t remember what he looks like, or even if he was there at all.
A sentient patch of haze sometimes reads advertisements on the radio.
Wheat and wheat by-products occasionally turn into lethal venomous snakes and take out most of the town’s population.
Old Woman Josie lives out by the car park with a group of tall, cloaked angels. It is illegal to acknowledge the existence of these angels. All of Old Woman Josie’s tall, cloaked “friends” are named Erica.
Vague, yet menacing government agencies put on most community events.
If a malevolent Glow Cloud appears and starts raining dead lizards and crows on unsuspecting citizens, don’t panic. That Glow Cloud will someday become president of the Night Vale school board.
Librarians are the most terrifying creatures in existence.
A beautiful new dog park has just been built in Night Vale. Only hooded figures are allowed in the dog park—no humans or dogs. Whatever you do, do not look at the hooded figures.
Clocks don’t work, and time is probably a hoax.

In the middle of each episode, Cecil—the show’s host, owner of arguably the greatest speaking voice ever—brings you to “the weather.” The weather is not actually a weather forecast, but a song by an independent artist. Sometimes the song is hip-hop, sometimes it’s indie-pop, but most of the time it’s folky and strange.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kPkkqxsjIY]

(Danny Schmidt performed the weather when we saw Night Vale live.)

If you’re not into supernaturally absurd dystopian podcasts, thanks for reading all the way to the bottom of this post. If you’re even the slightest bit curious about any of the things we just laid out for you, listen to this podcast. It is entertaining and unsettling and clever and so, so weird. All the episodes are free, and I’ve included a few of our favorites below.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GUOhbkQIfc]

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMYJHp9pqIo]

This is our last attempt at Night Vale evangelism – after this maybe we’ll shut up about it. Probably not, though.

ALL HAIL THE GLOW CLOUD,
Hannah & Julie

 

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College

The Quitting Pact

Friends, I’d like to tell you about the Quitting Pact.

Senior year does some crazy things to you. It shows you a really good time. It scares the shit out of you. It drapes you in a thick blanket of nostalgia. It forces you to think about what’s next, and it makes you appreciate what you have left.

But mostly, it makes you want to drop all of your plans for the future, curl up in a ball, and refuse to move out of this little bubble you’ve grown to love.

You know the feeling? You’re sitting at your kitchen table, your favorite corner of the library, your usual napping couch in the MUB, and the thought occurs to you. What if I just quit absolutely everything and stayed in this spot forever? This very spot where I feel most happy and comfortable and content?

You know it’s not really an option. It’s not even what you really want. But just for a second, it’s the picturesque mirage-island in the overwhelming dessert that is the end of college.

On a rainy afternoon last semester, my friend Will walked into the office where we work on campus with a heavy backpack and an expression like I’ve had enough of this goddamn day.

(Will is a coworker of ours, a graduate accounting student, and a dear friend. He’s great for advice, a coffee from the Shack, and for impromptu additions to blog-posts-in-progress. Hopefully he’s happy with his formal introduction to BlogLand.)

As he realized that he’d be spending the next six hours watching accounting lectures, he posed a question to the office at large. “Why can’t I quit everything and just work in the OSIL forever?”

This might have been the most rhetorical question ever, but one of our supervisors decided to answer it both literally and extensively.

“Well, for starters, your program won’t be happy with you quitting on them. You also won’t get your tuition back for the semester. You’ve already committed to a job, that one might be illegal to back out of. Not to mention that I couldn’t hope to pay you as much as you’d make as an accountant.”

Bummer city, right? All hopes of quitting were crushed by the heavy fist of logic. But that didn’t stop us.

Just as our boss finished his spiel, our friend Alison strolled into the office. (Alison’s graduating too, and equally as awesome as Will.) “Did someone say let’s quit everything and live in the OSIL forever?!”

Our boss shook his head and laughed behind his hands. “You have even more things that you bindingly can’t quit than he does,” he said. Alison’s only response was, “QUITTING PACT! Let’s do it!”

I was on desk this whole time, so I spun around in my chair with my hands up and yelled, “QUITTING PACT? I’m in!”

You know what crushes logic in the rock-paper-scissors of life? Blind denial. Thus, the Quitting Pact was born.

Right now it’s an elite group of students who are committed to ignoring the impending doom of May graduation in hopes of working at our goofy, loveable work-study jobs forever. (We’re taking applications for new members if you think you’ve got what it takes. Qualifications include 3-5 of procrastination experience and an innate love for plastic plants.)

(The OSIL had a beloved pet bamboo shoot named Jefferey who went missing this January. Any information on his whereabouts is greatly appreciated #WhereIsJefferey)
 I think, more than anything, the Quitting Pact is a testament to our little bubble. (It’s also a fun way to annoy our bosses.) We work in the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership in a building called the MUB, which is known for being the “living room” of campus. Basically, it’s the place where you can walk in, kick off your shoes, and fall asleep on a couch and no one will make fun of you or draw stuff on your face. The policy here is friendliness, inclusion, and generally being a goofball.

(Goofballery)
It really is the best. Our office has these sweet polka dot couches and big windows along one wall so you can wave at friends and tour groups as they walk by. You get to share a desk with some really cool people, sometimes helping students with their student-org-problems, and sometimes watching Youtube videos of fish being launched from a cannon.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9qA8c-E_oA&w=560&h=315]

(Worth the watch, I promise.)

Thanks to the OSIL, I’ve made some great friends and found a second home on campus. Sometimes it’s felt so homey that I’ve considered never leaving. #QuittingPact2016.

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